Victorian Christmas Carnivals - Ararat (Wed 28th Dec)
"Diamonds at the Dome"
Tess Downing dominant in Ararat
Ararat and District CC - Australian Diamond Company sponsored
Australia's richest track race for women took place in Ararat on Wednesday. Previously known as the Ladies Diamond Stakes, the 2005 Diamonds at the Dome was sponsored by the Australian Diamond Company and run by the Ararat and District Cycling Club. Previous winners include Rochelle Gilmore (1997) and Liz Williams (2002). Erin Peoples was the 2004 champion. Tess Downing was in superb form in Ararat. In a thrilling final, she took the $3000 diamond prize in the Wheelrace. She is the first rider to win the handicap event from scratch in its history.
Diamonds at the Dome is a 'wheelrace', a uniquely Australian race which provides all competitors with an equal chance of victory. In a wheelrace, the riders are handicapped, or given 'marks' for the event. The 'mark' denotes how far in front of the actual start line the riders are provided with a headstart. For example, 150m means a 150m advantage over a rider starting on 'scratch'. A 150m mark in the 2000m Diamonds at the Dome event means a 1850m dash to the line instead of the full distance. If the handicapper assesses everyone's form correctly and does a perfect job, the result will be a photo finish between all competitors for first place........
During the afternoon, there was an intermittent light breeze which provided a tailwind down the finishing straight, but more importantly moved the air around the 'bowl', which was seasonally warm with temperatures nudging towards the late 30'C - that's almost 100'F(!). The breeze died and the temperatures dropped slightly for the evening, which made things a lot more bearable and provided ideal conditions for fast racing on the 250m track.
There were several events throughout the day and evening for the women and junior women - heats and finals. Below are the results from the various finals.
1000 m handicap final
3 Lauren Hooper
Women /W19 1000 m handicap final
1000 m handicap was won in great style by Jodie Johns, in her first racing
season. She led from the front,
as a frontmarker and with two laps to go was still about 40 m ahead of the
chasing bunch. As they took the bell, Tess Downing chased off the front of
the group, but Johns was working hard to maintain her lead and just managed
to stay away to take the victory. Downing's
effort fizzled away and Tahlia Clayton and CarleeTaylor came through to take
the minor placings.
Johns told WomensCycling.net "That was awesome it feels great."
Tess Downing admitted that she had had a good heat and was therefore
feeling confident from the final, but said " I just couldn't make
it. Everyone was spread out across the track and there was just no room to
get around. Ah well there's
plenty of other races today."
/ W19 Omnium round 2 - 12 lap Points Race
Victorian Christmas Carnival week has an incentive for riders to enter and
complete in every carnival. There
is an Omnium, which means a mix of events, with one event contributing to
the overall Omnium prize taking place on each day of the carnivals.
At Ararat, the Omnium event is a 12 lap points race.
This event was controlled by Tess Downing, who knew what she had to do and make sure that she was in the right place for each of the sprint laps. Downing rode well, sheltering in the bunch between sprint laps, showing her face as the whistle blew to denote one lap to the sprint and then making sure that she was in the top one or two to take the points. She sealed the victory with a first place on the final sprint.
riders lined up for the junior diamond final.
Long marker, Chloe Macintosh (135 m) was chased by the field with
Megan Dunn riding from scratch. The
backmarkers very quickly came together and from while hung tantalisingly
close to the group of frontmarker's just 15 m ahead.
McIntosh, at the front of the field was working hard and was being
chased by the accelerating groups. In
the last lap, McIntosh tied up badly and was swamped by the bunch. Megan
Dunn took the sprint ahead of Netasha Pearse and Georgina Freeland.
The time for 1500 m was 1:58:96.
1 Megan Dunn
2 Netasha Pearse
The heats were fiercely contested
during the afternoon, with the first 9 from each heat going through to the
final. The first heat was won by Tess Downing (Drapac Porsche) in what was
to be an almost complete domination of all the events she rode in Ararat.
Her time of 2.37.65 for the 2000m was from scratch and she rode alone to
sweep up the rest of the field after South Australian, Bianca Rogers did not
start. Lisa Friend (Carnegie Caulfield) looked to be enjoying her time at
Ararat - relaxed and smiling, but when the race started she got down to
business from 35m and followed Downing to second in the heat. Third was
longmarker, Jessica Lane (Carnegie Caulfield), who was off 200m. The second
heat was a little faster than Heat 1 - 2.36.74 for 2000m. The winner, Esther
Pugh-Uren was off 120m and took first relatively easily. She beat local,
Tahlia Clayton (Ararat) into second, Clayton rode off 140m. In third was
Carlee Taylor (Team O'Grady)(115m).
line up for the final saw Tess Downing off scratch again, with Briana James
(The Freedom Machine) and Elizabeth Georgougas (Bici) shortmarkers ahead of
her in the first bend. Lisa Friend and Renee Braithwaite (South Australia)
were also in sight - all of these at less than 50m handicap. The longest
marks were given to Louise Bourke (Blackburn) and Jessica Lane, who was 240m
lined up just behind Downing in the finishing straight - just short of
a lap head of her at the start!
start saw the various helpers pushing their riders into the race with as
much might as they could muster. Within a lap, two distinct groups had
formed - the longmarkers joined up and worked to stay away, whilst those
nearer scratch also came together as a chase group. There were some riders
between the groups, who rode individually until swallowed up by those from
behind. At half distance, the chasing group were still well behind the lead
group and seemed to have stopped closing the gap. With 1000m to go they
still needed to make up half a lap just to make contact and didn't look to
have the legs to do so. Then, Tess Downing came the long way around that
group, going high on the track to take the lead and with a noticeable rise
in pace, she closed the gap on the lead group with 2 to go. Making contact
with the back of the lead group was an impressive move in itself, but with
most of the 18 starters now all together, there was still a lot to do to get
through and to the front of the race. At the front of the race, Tahlia
Clayton and Nicole Holt were battling for position, with others such as
Michelle King (the ex-National sprint Champ) and Lisa Friend focussed on
maintaining their position just behind them.
the bell, Clayton and Holt were still at the head of the race, Carlee Taylor
had moved up in the bunch and Downing could see that there was only one way
she could get to the finish line first - by going high and taking the long
way around the bunch (for the second time in the race). She began her move
with just over a lap to go and could be seen moving over the top of the
others as the bunch went along the back straight for the last time. A huge
kick in the final bend saw her move forwards and in - she crossed the line
to win with half a wheel advantage over Tahlia Clayton. Third was Carlee
Taylor and fourth, Nicole Holt.
Downing is the first rider to win the Diamond Race from scratch in the history of the event. Hers' was a huge effort and a great display - Downing deserved her victory and she was well rewarded for her efforts. First prize was a diamond valued at $3000, second prize was a diamond valued at $1500, third a $1000 diamond and fourth a $750 diamond.
3000m A Grade Scratch
3000m B Grade Scratch
an addition to the program, Victoria took on a combined interstate team from
New South Wales and the ACT. The team sprint consists of three laps of the
track for each team, with a rider peeling off each lap.
At the end of the race one rider from each team remains. The teams
start on opposite sides of the track. A
good showing by both teams resulted in a win for the combined interstate
team in a time of 59:92 seconds.
/ W19 4000m A Grade Scratch
/ W19 3000m B Grade Scratch
/ W19 2500m C Grade Scratch
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